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MTB World Cup XC #8 & DH #6 - CDM
Canberra, Australia, August 29-31, 2008
Race 6 - August 31: Elite women downhill,
Mosley pips Atherton by a skinsuit
By Paul Verkuylen in Mount Stromlo, Canberra, Australia
Great Britain's Tracy Mosley outclassed her compatriot Rachael Atherton to take the Australian round of the 2008 World Cup in wet and slippery conditions. Moseley was the last to start after taking the fastest time in the semi finals earlier in the day.
With the rain having only set in overnight the semi-final was the first and only opportunity to ride the course in wet conditions after training all week was held on a dry and dusty track. "It kind of makes you feel like 'what's the point in training all week?' At least you know your lines. ... It rained so much since the qualifier it was hard to know how much to push [in the finals]."
In the end Moseley (Kona) finished over four seconds ahead of Atherton (Animal Commencal), who was just 15 one-hundredths of a second faster than Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis) in third.
A long flat run into the line made for a difficult finish to the demanding circuit, with many of the women complaining that it dragged on way too long. The overnight rain turned the dust to paste like mud, which sapped their legs of any remaining energy.
Moseley was the strongest coming into this section taking advantage of her strength to distance herself from the rest of the field. "That sprint to the finish was brutal in this weather," she explained. "You feel like your going somewhere and then you hit a muddy patch and it completely saps your energy. It comes down to the pedaling on this track. I think that everyone is going to have a pretty good top section. Having a bike that rolls really good and tyre pressure make a difference."
Atherton was disappointed, but admitted that a number of mistakes at the top of the course cost her a win.
"I had a pretty bad top section," Atherton told Cyclingnews. "I messed up at the start and then down in the second rock garden I came off line. It was a little bit slipperier than normal and I rode a line that was different than normal. Stuff like this happens and you have to deal with it.
"Tracey is so strong and you know that she is willing to wear skinsuits and the like to win. I gave it my best shot and came out in second. I guess it is good enough for the points but I wanted to win at the end of the day."
Moseley's skinsuit was a point of contention for Atherton who believes that skill, training and bike set-up should dictate who wins, not clothing. "It is a bit of a touchy subject," Atherton believes. "If you ask any of the girls, you don't see them busting out skinsuits 'cause that's not what we feel like doing. If you win we want it to be on skill and training and stuff like that.
"Fair enough to Tracey if she wants to do that to win, but for the sport and the longevity of the sport, to wear cool race kit and to make an image for yourself is more important than the odd win here and there."
Moseley disagreed and saw her skinsuit as merely another weapon in her arsenal to fight for World Cup wins. "Wearing a skinsuit makes a difference, but is a bit controversial," she explained. "Most of the riders don't like wearing them, but I know that it is an advantage and I am prepared to take the slack to win a World Cup race.
"The others don't wear them because it isn't cool. Mountain biking is very image driven. I make that choice and I get shit for it for the rest of the year but..."
The battle for the World Cup remains close. Atherton still leads after placing second, but anything could happen at the World Cup final in two weeks.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
1 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona 2 Rachel Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal 3 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis 4 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team 5 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center 6 Sheryl MacLeod (NZl) 7 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) MS-Intense Factory-Racing 8 Helen Gaskell (GBr) 9 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Playbiker - Iron Horse 10 Anita Molcik (Aut) 4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/RSP 11 Scarlett Hagen (NZl) 12 Diana Marggraff (Ecu) 13 Caroline Buchanan (Aus) 14 Helene Valerie Fruhwirth (Aut) 15 Claire Whiteman (Aus) 16 Leigh Douglas (Can) 17 Cara Smith (Aus) 18 Amy Laird (NZl) 19 Joanne Fox (Aus)